Designer Tidbits: Tula Pink - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: Tula Pink

Welcome to Tula Pink‘s fantastic fantasy. Where cheeky raccoon roam tall grass fields and adventures are had by all. Acacia by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics is enchanting and playful. Let your next quilt project be an Acacia adventure! Tula Pink is here on the Jolly Jabber to give you a closer look at Acacia. And for even more, watch our interview and booth tour from Spring Quilt Market 2013!

Q: Where did you find your original inspiration for Acacia?
A:My original inspiration for Acacia came from the raccoon itself. I start by setting the scene in my imagination. Am I in the ocean? In a field? The desert? The mountains? In the case of Acacia I was traveling a lot at the time and I pictured myself on my mom’s farm where there is nothing but tall grass fields for miles. I started to think about all of the things that go on in that grass that I never see. The raccoon became the mascot for the fantasy and developed from there. I pictured him chasing down butterflies and hummingbirds in a vibrant and mysterious grassy prairie land. 

Q: What was your “aha” moment in designing this collection?
A:My “aha” moment with any collection is half way through the design process. At this point I know what the collection is about and where it needs to go, and I am confident that I can get it there. When the largest, storytelling, pieces are complete I am just fine tuning the narrative and making sure that every piece that comes after is adding to the collection and not taking anything away from it. This is where I start thinking about what I am going to make with the fabrics and what I need to make the collection feel really complete. 


Butterfly Quilt Pattern featuring Acacia by Tula Pink

Q: What would be your collection’s theme song?
A:If Acacia had a theme song it would probably be Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles. Just because it’s about a boy named Rocky Raccoon and also because Rocky had a lot of tenacity and I imagine that my raccoon would too. 

Whistling Acacia Fat Quarter Bundle by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics

Q:Tell me about your sewing machine(s). What kinds do you have and how many?
A:I have many sewing machines, all Berninas. My main machine, the love of my life, is my Bernina 830. It’s huge and amazing! I spend more time with my Bernina than I do with most of my family members. Maybe I shouldn’t be proud of that but it’s the truth. 

Diamonds in the Sky Quilt Kit featuring Acacia by Tula Pink, available at Fat Quarter Shop

Q:What is your favorite part of the fabric industry?
A:My favorite part of the fabric industry is seeing how people use my fabric. There is so much talent out there that goes unrecognized because they are hobby sewers and not in magazines or writing books or designing fabric. Putting different fabrics together and using them in an unexpected way is every bit as creative as anything I do. I love seeing my fabrics used in a way that I never thought of, it re-fuels my creative machine and is really what makes it all worthwhile. 

Cypress Acacia Fat Quarter Bundle by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
Q:From what aspect of your life do you draw creativity? 
A:My creativity is mostly internal. Some people are good at math or football and I am good at making things up and drawing them. Finding creativity is not something I have to work really hard at, it’s more natural for me than anything else I could do. It’s not always easy but even when I am struggling to work out something creatively it feels good and right, I enjoy the triumph of finally figuring it out. 

Q:What is your design process?
A:My design process is a mix of hand drawn and digital applications. I make endless sketches of every print. I draw and re-draw a billion times until I get it right. If the sketch isn’t perfect then when I retrace the sketch digitally it will look off or wrong. Drawing everything first keeps the finished fabric looking more organic and like it came from an actual person and not a computer. It’s important to me that my hand is still present in the final piece. 


Q:What is your favorite print in the collection?
A:I try to design collections where one print can’t exist without the other. I designed Acacia as a whole, working a little bit on each piece as I went so they are difficult to separate for me. Artistically, my favorite print is the pink raccoon, I picture him hiding in the weird little ball plants waiting to make his move. If all raccoons were pink the world would be a better place. How could bad things happen in a world filled with rascally pink raccoons? 

Nile Acacia Fat Quarter Bundle by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics

Q:What is the most challenging part of the design process?
A:There are two challenging parts of the design process for me. The first is narrowing ideas. When I sit down to draw I have a million ideas in my head. Choosing which direction to go and sticking to it is the hardest part. I start broad in my ideas and then narrow them down as I go. For every collection I probably design about 15 to 20 prints and then choose the strongest 8 that tell the most complete story. Cohesiveness is crucial when putting a collection together, there needs to be focus. The second hardest part is the waiting. There is a lot of waiting in fabric design. I have to wait for production and then wait again to show people what I have made. I am always extremely proud of what I design and I am always really anxious to share it with everyone! 

Q:What are your favorite and least favorite colors and why?
A:I love a rainbow! I am less interested in a single color and more interested in what happens in the transition from one color to the next or how one color looks next to another color. If I had to choose a single favorite color it would be aqua. Aqua is like a great pair of jeans, it looks good with everything. My least favorite color would have to be brown. I have seen it used really beautifully but I have a hard time with it personally. I can’t get excited about brown.

For a closer look at the beautiful Acacia collection and to get a glimpse of Tula’s charm, watch this video from Spring Quilt Market 2013 in Portland, OR!


  1. I love Tula Pink and her fabrics! She is so sweet and encouraging to all of her customers who buy her fabrics. Not all designers are like that. Love that about her! Such a talented and special lady! Keep doing what you do Tula! You're amazing!

  2. I sit on pins and needles waiting for each new Tula Pink collection. Her fabrics are so imaginative. The colors are always wonderful and the uses unlimited.